Wednesday 11 June 2014

"Garthwaite Anglaise" - 1770s Anglaise en fourreau

I've finished my "Garthwaite Anglaise"!!! yay!

the only picture of me in the dress I could find...

 It all started with this fabric:

lovely fabric I got from

Apart from the fact that the fabric just begged me to buy it... I didn't have a real idea what to make of it. (roughly rococo was clear, though...). It's a silk lampas I ordered from The design is called "carnation", the colour is a very light beige, "eggshell" called thing. Not what I would usually go for, but i LIKE it. Both sides of the fabric are equally appealing, it was hard to make a decision.
I also liked the fact that carnations have been flowers "with a meaning" for quite long.. -> wikipedia CARNATION
I first intended to make a 1740s Robe a la Francaise from it. BUT there were only 8yards available. Of course with a bit of tweaking that would be possible (remember, I AM petite...). BUT I also had just finished the green striped Chardin Francaise, which means I've got 2 Robes a la Francaise already that work for the 1740s/50s. And as much as I like that style, I didn't get the right feel for it. So I just put it aside for some time (remember: fabrics mature while you own them). and then I stumbled across these pictures:

Met Museum

Met Museum

Colonial Williamsburg

I love this dress: the colours are great (I wish I could have found a red like this!)

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, NY

MFA Boston

With 8 yards I've had plenty of fabric to make a gown and have some more fabric left to mature. :) I had done the Anglaise en fourreau before, so no major issues here, just a few minor changes (back view).I was very torn between making an open gown or a round gown, but went for the open gown, because I like the contrasting white skirt a lot.

So, why a 1740s/50s fabric design for a 1770s Robe a l'Anglaise?
Several reasons:
It's different.
I've had quite enough of the Francaise pleating.
I like the "easy to wear" Anglaise-style. 
There are lovely extant garments with this mix. (The reason for this has been brought to my attention by the lovely Mme du Jard: Many people got fabrics for their christening and then would use them for a special dress, possibly even the wedding dress, in their 20s. tadaaa, a bit of calculating and you've got it! So not only though processing and altering garments but also through hording (!) fabrics you could get this result)
And last but not least: the fabric spoke to me. Ever had that feeling? ;)

So this is my "Garthwaite Anglaise". :) Sorry, I haven't got pictures with me inside, but it's 36 degrees Celsius (about 95 degrees Fahrenheit...) here and I just can't force myself into the stays.
Oh, and why is it called the "Garthwaite Anglaise"? Because the fabric design really reminds me of this wonderful designer, Anna Maria Garthwaite, see my blogpost about her -> HERE

yes, wrong pins, use your IMAGINATION!

edit 7/2015:
After making a Manteau de Lit from the leftovers I still had a bit of fabric left to make a skirt. I had to piece the back, but I don't think thats a problem. :)


  1. Pretty! I'm glad you decided to go with the robe à l'anglaise design - it's perfect for this fabric! :)

  2. Thank you very much! I am really happy about it, too. :)

  3. The fabric is awesome indeed! And I know that feeling very well, when the fabric wants you to buy it! Even when you don't feel like sewing anything from that particular period at all!

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets talk to by fabrics... :) I think a reasonable amount of fabric stashed away to mature is essential to any household. even if men don't understand why you need a certain fabric even if you don't know what to do with it, ... yet... image the moment... you've got time, ideas and NO fabric at hand - unthinkable! ;)